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Press release: three quarters of a million MOT tests were still carried out in April 2020, despite motorists having a six month grace period due to COVID-19

  • Alex Buttle
  • 21st May 2020

Almost three-quarters of a million MOT tests* were still carried out in April 2020, despite the government giving motorists a six-month MOT holiday from 30th March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

An FOI request made by Motorway to the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency), revealed that 746,157 MOTs took place across the UK in April.  

The number of tests were down 80% on the previous month – with 3,723,524 motorists taking their vehicles in for an MOT in March. Just over 3.5 million MOTs were carried out in April 2019. 

Perth in Central Scotland saw the biggest drop in MOTs last month, with tests down 85.7% compared to March. Inverness saw 85.6% fewer MOTs in April vs March.

More than 20,000 motorists in the Birmingham area (21,324) took their vehicles in for an MOT in April, and 18,170 tests were carried out by garages in the ‘S’ postcode area (Sheffield) last month.

Despite testing falling significantly in April, it’s surprising there were still almost 750,000 inspections carried out last month, after the government announced an MOT holiday.

Any motorists with an MOT due from 30th March have automatically been given a six-month extension. However, vehicles still have to be kept in a roadworthy condition, with garages remaining open for essential repair works.

The following table shows postcode areas with the largest drop in MOTs in April vs March 2020

PostcodePostcode AreaMOTs – March 2020MOTs – April 2020% drop in test numbers
PHPerth11,5351,65485.7%
IVInverness16,4192,36985.6%
CACarlisle22,3173,45684.5%
LDLlandrindod Wells3,37052984.3%
PAPaisley17,5422,76584.2%
CHChester42,7347,00583.6%
SASwansea49,0748,22983.2%
SYShrewsbury25,4954,30483.1%
UBSouthall17,7172,99683.1%
BRBromley13,8462,34383.1%

The following table shows postcode areas where the most MOTs were carried out in April 2020

PostcodePostcode AreaMOTs – April 2020
BBirmingham21,324
SSheffield18,170
NGNottingham15,115
BSBristol14,246
PEPeterborough12,988

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway comments: 

“These figures from the DVSA show that despite motorists having the opportunity to postpone their MOT test, many have chosen not to do so. There could be a number of reasons why; with general car maintenance, ongoing value and safety issues likely at the forefront of many drivers’ minds.

“Saying that, the number of MOTs in April was still substantially lower than March figures, and we expect to see a similar low level of testing in May, as lockdown restrictions have only been eased slightly this month.

“From a cost point of view, cash strapped car owners might consider delaying their MOT for the full six months, but the reality is that the cost of a test is small compared to the human cost if you’re driving a car that has a serious fault or defect.

“Motorists will often have their vehicle serviced at the same time as the MOT, and delaying the test could also mean delaying the annual service, which could flag up mechanical and safety issues that need to be addressed urgently.

“Many garages are still open for MOTs, and anyone driving an older vehicle, which tend to be more susceptible to problems due to wear and tear, might be wise to take their car in close to the original MOT date to give it a full check and service. It will give them the peace of mind that it’s in good condition and mechanically sound at the present time.

”And if owners are looking to protect the value of their car for selling in the future, then a heavily-delayed MOT may be an issue for some buyers. 

“To boost your offer when you sell to a dealer on our website at Motorway.co.uk, we recommend main-dealer servicing and regular MOTs. 

“Even if you can delay, it may be more cost efficient to get the MOT done sooner rather than later to protect your car’s ongoing value.”